Concertina group based in Maidstone, Kent, UK
6am on the second Sunday in June only means one things for many of Kettle Bridge Concertinas – time to get out of bed, get washed and dressed, eat breakfast and be on the road: the Kettle Bridge Concertina contingent are making their annual 125 mile pilgrimage to Stamford in Lincolnshire for the SqueezEast day. This is a day organised by David & Elsie Nind with Paul & Sally Barrett.
We were well represented with a total of 16 members in attendance that day. Paul and Sally are both honorary members of Kettle Bridge Concertinas. For Steve, another honorary member, it was the first time he had worn his turquoise polo shirt in public to transport several members as well as take photos. Two members, Trina and Lorna, attended for the first time. The rest of the contingent comprised of Sandy, Pom, Fiona, Tricia, Sue, Pat, Sally, MFD, Chris, John and Liz.
After what seemed like weeks of rain and the wettest June for many years, the day dawned bright and very sunny, so the long journey was very pleasant. We met up with the others attending at The Arts Centre in Stamford; approximately 35 people were able to attend, many of whom were old friends.
As usual, Paul was leading the session. We played a variety of music that day including Bonny at Morn (traditional lullaby from NE England), Annie Laurie (Scottish folk song), All Hands Around (reel), Harmony Moze by Kerry Mills, Handel’s Water Music and with Paul’s help managed to make a reasonable attempt at each. One piece totally defeated us though – that was the theme tune to Housewife’s Choice, In Party Mood. Amid much hilarity, we did our best and the music was quickly collected up and put back in its folder.
At lunchtime, Kettle Bridge made a quick exit to get to the pub, St Mary’s Vaults, for lunch. Fiona had been really efficient and helpful and pre-ordered all our meals which meant we had a reserved table and got served very quickly. Good food and good company was much enjoyed.
After lunch, a chance to play again the pieces we had been working on. Then it was time for those that wished to perform something for the rest. East London Concertina Players played a couple of pieces very beautifully including Paul Barrett’s arrangement of “A Place in the Heart” by Bruce Crahan. This is a favourite of several Kettle Bridge members and something that we have played a few times in our band. Kettle Bridge Concertinas were asked to perform something and although some were a little reluctant to do so, we did perform “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, also arranged by Paul.
Then after a welcome cuppa and the raffle, it was time for a final performance of the pieces we had been working on. In what seemed like no time at all, it was the end of the session and time for us all to begin our journeys home. We had had a great day out thanks to all the hard work put in by David, Elsie, Paul and Sally – our thanks go to all of them. We now look forward to next year’s pilgrimage!